Your Resources
@ The Entrepreneurial Parent

Your Family
Your Career
Your Business
EP Expert

EP Mailing Lists

Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter or join our daily discussion!

 || Previous Issue || Back to the EPnews Archives || Read the next issue ||
|| Contribute to EPnews || Ad Rates || Comment on EPnews ||
EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 3, Issue 6
July 14, 1999


Do you find EPnews useful?
Please forward to a friend, or recommend it to your favorite Web site or
e-zine. Thanks for your support!

For easy reading, simply print out this newsletter.


The Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!
EP Times -- An Editorial
What's It Worth?
Making Money Matters
We Recommend
What's Happening at EP

Note to New Subscribers: EPnews is published and distributed on the second
and fourth Wednesday of every month. The Entrepreneurial Parent at is updated every weekend; look for new content on



Submitted by EPnews Subscriber, Michele Marrinan (mailto: [email protected]):

My 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Veronica, is going to start nursery school in
September. I have been preparing her by talking about what she will do
there, and about how we will buy a backpack and lunch box for her to bring
along. Although my husband, her Daddy, passed away last September, we often
talk about him--maybe a little too much. I asked her recently what kind of
backpack she wanted for school, and she promply replied "A Barbie Doll
backpack." Thinking that Barbie is too mature for a 2-year-old, I said,
"Why don't we pick something else." To which she quickly replied, "Daddy
said I could have a Barbie backpack. He told me up in heaven."


Share with the EP Community something your child said or did recently that
made you smirk, giggle, or LOL. Send your submission via e-mail to:
[email protected] with the subject heading "A Funny Thing My EP Kid
Said (or Did)". And if you need a stockpile of smiles to get you through
your EP day, pick up your own heartwarming copy of Grace Housholder's "The
Funny Things Kids Say" @ On those
stressed-out EP days, you'll be glad you did!


"An EP in the Making"
© 1999 by Lisa Roberts

Last week, my third child turned six years old. My husband, Ron, took off
from work for his birthday party and we all had a blast. Sixteen children
came through our back door, as requested, giggling in anticipation (with
maybe one or two stepping *very cautiously* ahead...) The invitations read:

"It's a SDRAWKCAB Party! That means everything at Jimmy's party will be
inside out, upside down and basically silly in every way! Please come
wearing something inside out and/or backwards, and don't forget to come
through our BACK door and say 'Good-Bye' when you first see Jimmy and
'Hello' when it's time to go!"

The kids didn't know what to expect, except that it would be different than
any other party they had ever been to. Ron started it off by leading our
young guests in standard children's games with a backwards twist until
everyone had arrived and settled in. Then we decorated visors that were to
be worn upside down for the rest of the party, led the kids to a playroom
set up with a "What's Wrong With This Picture?" kind of theme (where they
had to name at least five things that were "not right" with the room),
pinned the tail on the donkey's nose, and finally served all guests a piece
of cake and other assorted snacks UNDER the dining room table.

Why go through all that work? Ever since our first turned three we've been
holding these kind of theme birthday parties in our home...primarily for
the following reasons:

1) It builds memories that just couldn't surface at the local bowling alley
or roller skating ring (which is where I finally caved in this year,
holding my son's 9th and my daughter's 12th birthday parties respectively,
with as-expected results).
2) It's generally less expensive than out-of-the-home parties.
3) It turns our home into a really exciting place to least four
times a year ;-)
4) It teaches the kids "out of the box" thinking among their peer groups.

I've been telling myself that this last ulterior motive is the driving
force behind all the others. "Out of the box" thinking is what I try to
apply daily in my work for EP and various other projects here at home. It's
what I like to believe sets apart the true "entrepreneurial" personality
from other types, primarily because it's what comes naturally to *me.* But
now I'm starting to wonder if this is a key ingredient at all. In fact,
when I think about it, creativity takes a backseat to raw salesmanship
skills just about every time. I was recently reminded of this by watching
my son -- the birthday boy himself -- in action...simply doing what comes
naturally to *him.*

More than any of his siblings at this point in time, Jimmy is rip-roaring
ahead in the "entrepreneurial" department. While currently Jessica wants to
be a teacher of some sort, William wants to be a scientist of some sort,
and Thomas (at 3) is way too young to have an inkling -- Jimmy, no
question, is on the sales track. For those of you who read my book, you may
recall that Jimmy was the "brave" one -- my child who at two years old was
fighting off the wolves in "Beauty & the Beast" with my font ruler whenever
he heard the musical score playing in the house. Jimmy has turned out to be
my most bold, brazen, impulsive and stubborn of all, with a dynamic, joyful
personality that appeals to his peers and often (not always!) endears his
teachers. He, in actuality, is very unlike the rest of the Roberts clan --
who are fundamentally introspective/introverted -- albeit creative.

Enter our first multi-family tag sale, and Jimmy's first tag sale period.
Held a week before Jimmy's party, it involved seven out of ten families on
the block for two days straight. Before the first morning had ended, an
arrow pointing to our true-blue entrepreneur was flashing neon-like in our
collective minds. My mother was the one who noticed it first.

We allowed each of the kids to have their own spot to sell their wares (old
toys and assorted cast-aside favorites), and maintained a total hands-off
policy so they could do their own thing. William had a make-shift table set
up, while Jessica, Jimmy and even Thomas had their own sheet they laid down
on the ground. Jessica's sheet was well-organized with each item given
"space," labels in neat and clear view, and a few wares grouped similarly
together. William, who has the makings of an absent-minded professor if I
ever saw one, was in total disarray much of the time -- his toys still half
in boxes hours into the sale, and the ones up on the table set up with no
particular rhyme or reason. And Thomas' sheet was basically just a place
for him to sit down, wrinkle up and feel justified in.

In contrast to all, Jimmy -- my
backwards/upside-down/basically-silly-in-every-way boy -- was in total
control. He took a few of his old games and laid them out, evenly-spaced,
in the center of his sheet. Then he took all the toy vehicles he could
muster up -- mostly hot wheel cars but also trains, trucks, planes and
boats -- and lined them up systematically in and around the centerpiece
toys, as if they were going if in action already. He then
grabbed the infant car seat we were selling, pulled it near his sheet and
promptly sat down in it, with his feet in mid-air and his set-up proudly
beside him. When our first customer came, he was ready.

The woman and her two-year old son strolled slowly up our driveway. Eyes
fixed directly on the purse-holding mom, Jimmy declared from his seat,
"CARS!! CARS!! We got Cars!" It wasn't shouting, just clear and firm
vocalization. When he watched them pass by and head towards the table where
William sat quietly at attention, he tried a different tactic. He too grew
quiet...then got up and started working on the two-year old.

"Would you like a car?" he asked gently, leading the child back to his
sheet. "What kind do you like? This one?" and Jimmy picked up a standard
hot wheel car. "This one?" he started flying the toy airplane to
demonstrate. Then he saw the boy touch a little fire engine. "Oh, that
one!" Jimmy smiled.

By the time his mom was done checking things out, the little boy was
attached. Jimmy made his first sale -- 20 cents! He clanged the coins in
his cup in triumph.

It didn't take very long at all until Jimmy's sales tactics got a bit too
sophisticated for his own good. Later on that very day, he took a walk to
the other tag sales on the block, bought a toy truck with the dollar he had
earned, and placed it on his sheet with no tag. A half-hour later, he had
sold it for THREE dollars. My mother was in stitches.

At the end of the second day, when we all had had enough of the hot, hot
weather and the general disarray that tag sales command, we started to move
all unsold items towards the street with the intent of putting a FREE sign
up for takers. Jimmy was disturbed at the thought, so I made him a deal. If
he sat there to "man" the merchandise, he could sell any item for a quarter
to any other stragglers who came by.

Hours passed and Jimmy was still out there, shouting at the cars passing,
"Everything's a QUARTER! Twenty-five cents for everything but the
house...or the car!" Finally, a neighbor came by and took several of the
remaining baby items for an expectant niece, and poured all kinds of change
into Jimmy's cup.

To sum it up, in one day my just-turning six-year old was able to
accomplish what I have not in eleven years of entrepreneurship. He won a
customer over not with a quality product but with a smooth sales
presentation. He earned a tip that surpassed total sales. And he sold an
item three times its cost. Now while I'm not condoning or endorsing my
son's particular sales style, there's no denying that he's got the knack,
if you know what I mean.

Meanwhile, I'm left with the burning question. Will the real Entrepreneur
in this household please stand up?

Lisa Roberts is the mother of four, Web Producer of The Entrepreneurial
Parent and the author of "How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof:
A Parent's Guide to Home Business." Copies of her
book are available for purchase at: and
through Amazon, at:


deB is on vacation this month -- check back in August for the next WIW column!

deB Sechrist is the mother of three, Webmanager of The Entrepreneurial
Parent and owner of deBweB, a web design business. Find out more about deB


Being available to your kids and managing a career under one roof sounds to
many like the best of both worlds, but without pulling in some kind of
income what's all the effort for? Making Money Matters! This month April
Rogers, the mother of three under six and owner of U-Talk Publications,
shares her marketing tips with us. You can contact her at:

April Rogers
U-Talk Publications
P.O. Box 1266
Akron, Ohio 44309-1266
Ph: (330) 630-9490
Fax: (330) 630-9464
Email: [email protected]

Please note: If you'd like to submit a contribution for an upcoming issue,
email: [email protected] with the subject heading "MMM Survey," and
we'll send you our survey!

1. In a 2-3 sentence statement, explain what your home business is about,
including your target market and "mission statement."

My home business is U-Talk Publications. U-Talk Publications, an
independent publisher, is in the business of creating quality products that
help people celebrate and capture the images and feelings associated with
special people, events and experiences that contribute to a better quality
of life. My target market includes teenagers, parents of teens and
grandparents of teens.

2. What are the most popular products and/or services you sell? How much do
you sell them for (or what's your hourly rate), and how did you find the
right price/fee schedule for them?

The most popular product that I sell is a write-in combination scrapbook,
journal and keepsake for teens called, A Teen Yearbook: My Life in My Own
Words which sells for $19.95. I found the right price for A Teen Yearbook
by getting quotes for production costs (print costs based on an average
size print run) and then multiplied this amount by a multiple commonly used
in the publishing industry to arrive at the selling price for a book. This
helps to take into account all of the discounting that takes place in the
supply chain for a book that is sold in retail stores and still allow me to
earn a profit after my business expenses.

3. What are *your* favorite products and/or services? Why do you like to
sell them?

My favorite product is A Teen Yearbook because it's a fun book that helps
teens to positively express themselves through writing. It also will
provide them with an opportunity to reflect on their teen years and compare
with the lives of their own children once they become parents.

4. Tell us a bit about your marketing campaign. When did you start noticing
your first sales (after which marketing technique), what marketing efforts
have you noticed yield the greatest results, and how do you make your first
contact and subsequent sales (via online, phone, fax, mail, face-to-face)?

Marketing is my favorite part of my business and where much of my education
lies. The marketing for my book must take place at various levels and to
various types of customers. Although I have a distributor who sells to
some bookstore accounts, I am responsible for marketing to the end user and
to other types of retail accounts.

In order to let the end user know about my product, I spend most of my
efforts on trying to generate free publicity. I periodically send out
press releases and review copies to various media types (magazines,
newspapers and Internet) in hopes of getting free publicity. I try to give
the editors information that will be useful to their readers while of
course mentioning my book and then following-up with a phone call. I
started noticing my first sales after my book starting getting national

For retail accounts I will very soon be utilizing direct mail to generate

Lastly, I use my web site ( as a way to
market my book.

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

Having a home business is a true blessing to me. Actually I have been
known to call it a "blessed challenge" because my main job is that of a
stay-at-home-mom of 3 boys (ages 5 1/2, 2 and 3 months).

Thanks for the opportunity to submit this survey to you!


Have a question? It may already be answered in 1 of the 16 EP Expert Q&A
pages now up and running! Check them out at (follow the "Q&A" links). If your question
isn't answered there, then send it to: [email protected]. We'll be glad
to help you out if we can!

The following question has recently been answered by our EP Low-Cost
Marketing Expert, Silvana Clark. Silvana is working on her latest book,
"150 Ways to Raise Your Child's Self Esteem." If you have a tip that's
worked for you and your child, please email Silvana directly at:
[email protected] -- remember, she needs 150 of them, so please be generous!

Q. Dear Silvana,

I recently started a home-based business in Interior Design. My marketing
has included flyers and, most recently, postcards to new mortgage holders
listed in the business section of my local newspaper. My dilemma is that
the competition is so great where I live. I would love to be able to
discover a niche market to stand out from my competion. I do have a
targeted market for the postcards, but I'm not getting the response that I
expected. What I would love to be able to offer to my clients are some
personal touches to their homes. I've done the window treatments in my own
home, I love to paint and use the popular faux treatments. Please help!!!
Thanks in advance, Angie

A. Since competition is tight, you'll need to find a "niche" that makes you
stand out from others. What is your specific specialty? If you can become
known as the "Window Treatment Specialist" or the "Baby nursery decorator,"
you'll be able to get some business. Try going to a small, locally-owned
fabric, paint or home improvement store. Ask if you can give a free short
seminar on your specialty. If you offer your services for free, the chances
are the store will promote the seminar. You'll then have people attending
who might hire you. Even on a tight budget, could you create some new
window treatments for your child's classroom? The school newsletter would
then mention your work. he point is that people need to see a sample of
your work before they feel comfortable hiring you. Keep trying to maintain
a high visibilty.

Good Luck!

Silvana Clark is the author of "Taming the Marketing Jungle: 104 Marketing
Ideas When Your Motivation is High and Your Budget is Low," "150 Ways to
Raise Creative, Confident Kids" and the forthcoming "150 Ways to Raise Your
Child's Self Esteem," all available at the EP Bookstore
( To learn more about Silvana and/or to
ask her a single question, go to


An old favorite movie, "Twelve Angry Men," with Henry Fonda & company.
Check this video out the next time you're at the reel store and enjoy the
dynamics of twelve very distinct, very genuine personalities. I hear there
was a remake but this one is classic. Note the sales-like qualities among
some of these guys, and some "old boy" networking in action.

An old favorite Web site, Business@Home, an online magazine for home
business owners, at:

"Business@Home: Making a life while making a living" has recently undergone
a whole new redesign. This magazine has always been top-notch, so if you
haven't been there for awhile or never before -- do check it out.

And a great new site for Dads! Check out Fathers First Online at:


All is quiet here as Lisa and deB spend the bulk of their time shuffling
kids around to various summer activities. There has been some wonderful
interaction on our discussion list, though. Here's a message from April
Rogers, our featured MMM marketing profile, who agreed to share her post
with us:

From: [email protected]

<Intro snipped>

Hey, just a bit of encouragement for someone -- DON'T GIVE UP!!! Perhaps
not everyone needs to hear this, but for those who do -- Payday does come!
I have been working from home now for over 2 years and have never been able
to pay myself. Although I have had sales, the money has always ended up
having to go right back into the business. Well, finally this year I am
able to begin paying myself what I call "bonuses".

I work from home because of the freedom and control it gives me, the
creative outlet, because I am entrepreneurial at heart, and the best reason
-- because I am able to stay home with my children. BUT with all of that
said and done, I have looked forward to paying myself for a while and have
learned that just as I would deserve a salary working for someone else that
I deserve a salary working for myself -- after all -- work is work! In the
beginning of my business, I was knocking on the doors of local bookstores
trying to get my books onto their shelves. After 2 years, my book is now
stocked on the shelves in 3 out of 4 of the largest chain bookstores in the

I share this not to brag, but because sometimes we can work so long and so
hard without seeing the rewards that it can be easy to give up or despair.
It reminds me of all of the work that we put into raising our children and
how it seems to be 99% giving all day. But I believe that this sowing of
our time, love and energy will pay off in big dividends as our children
grow and mature into the adults that God created them to be. Our
businesses are no different. As we continue to learn and strive to let the
world know about our products and services, the results will come and our
businesses will grow into what we envisioned them to be.

So -- let's all keep striving, learning, working and earning all that we
are worth as Entrepreneurial Parents!

Have a great week! --April Rogers

Please note: if you'd like to subscribe to our discussion list, go to:

If you're interested in becoming a NAEP member, go to:


Peter W. Siler, the Director and Founder of Fathers First Online!, wrote a
terrific review of EP and featured our site throughout the month of June.
Thanks so much for your wonderful recognition, Pete -- and congratulations
for a well-done new site for Dads! (Again, go take a look at You can catch the full review of EP at:

Or read the highlights here:

"There are zillions of Web sites on parenting and zillions of sites on
careers and starting your own business on the Internet, but this is the
best one I've seen that puts them both together in such a nice integrated
fashion. It won't be the only site you'll need but it's a great place to
start. And although it's run by home-based moms it does a lot better job
than some "parenting" Web sites to be inclusive of fathers (to wit, the
availability of the "dad" graphic above).

Not quite ready to take the plunge? Then subscribe to their free e-zine
(sign up on their homepage). This will help keep your toe in the water and
a beacon alit at the end of the career/family tunnel."

That's it until August. To all EPs who miss the perk of an air-conditioned
office, try cooling off by running through the sprinkler with your EP
Kids!! (Ha! Couldn't do that one before now, could you??)


The Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC is not engaged in rendering legal or
financial advice. If expert assistance is required, the services of a
licensed professional should be sought.

This newsletter may be redistributed freely via the Internet. Re-publishing
of separate articles for your print publication needs approval first; write
to: [email protected] for permission.

© 2000, The Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC
Editor: Lisa M. Roberts
EP Webmaster: Deborah Sechrist
POB 320722, Fairfield, CT 06432;
Ph:/Fax: (203) 371-6212, Email: [email protected]

Community email addresses:
Subscribe: [email protected]
Unsubscribe: [email protected]
List owner: [email protected]

Shortcut URL to this page:


 || Previous Issue || Back to the EPnews Archives || Read the next issue ||
|| Contribute to EPnews || Ad Rates || Comment on EPnews ||


EP Showcase | Forums | Membership | Directory | Experts | Career Counseling
Mailing List | Resource Center | Books | Articles | Archives | Web Links | Gift Shop
In the Media | Site Contents | Search Site | About EP | Advertise at EP | Link to Us
© 2000, The Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
P.O. Box 320722, Fairfield, CT 06432 |
Please Read Disclaimer Before Using Site | Email: [email protected]